Tuesday, July 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Centre must review its Pak policy

Apropos of Mr H.K. Dua’s front-page editorial “Limits to patience” (July 24), there should be no doubt about the origin of the latest suicidal attack on the 16 Corps Commander and other top officers in Akhnoor. The country must stand firmly united and rebut the dastardly misadventure which surely would prove a turning point in our resolve to weed out the terrorism.

The options are: the Centre must review the kid-glove policy of the state government, especially its total failure in policing. There is no sure method to prevent determined suicidal attacks excepting to be yet more vigilant. The army has to do just that. There is need for issuance of the proposed national identity cards for the residents in Jammu and Kashmir. The job must be entrusted to private enterprise and not to the lethargic government machinery. The village/mohalla heads and the local police should be held responsible for the presence of any outsiders or terrorists amongst them.

Peace is viable only on a two-way road. There is no use of talks, cricket matches, cultural exchanges or trade in the present environment. Forget about the bus to Lahore or train to Pakistan. Let our countries remain no-fly zones for each other and never ever any gas pipeline over their land. Instead a submarine pipeline seemingly at much greater cost presently would eventually prove highly cost-effective. The Wagah border could be opened with great caution and care where hearts are involved. Should we not say now that enough is enough? If we could not be friends, let us at least be good enemies.




Unless we make Pakistan pay dearly for its terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, there will be no respite for us. No amount of smooth talking, diplomatic initiatives or media hype will serve any purpose. We must hit Pakistan hard and where it hurts most. Perhaps that may be the only option left now. It is a fight between jehadi fanaticism and secularism on the one hand, and dictatorship and democracy on the other.

This is apart from the many steps that need to be taken on priority to plug the loopholes in our security apparatus. Our laid-back politicians, baton-wielding army brass and police officials and all-powerful but accountable babus should wake up and do their primary duty of ensuring the nation's security. But what can you expect when our troops do not have even basic equipment like bullet-proof jackets? We seem to have developed not only thick skulls but also thick skins.

WG-COMDR S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

Beggary, a flourishing industry

“Beggars are not choosers” is an idiom that stands redundant, as beggary has become a flourishing industry instead of being a pitiable condition evoking the sympathy of fellow human beings. If one doesn't mind spending a few hours in the sun, wearing soiled rags and putting on an act that would put Bollywood's finest to shame, beggary has a lot of appeal. For this, no real effort is involved. And no experience necessary. Little inconvenience for a huge bank balance is often a good trade-off. But this is actually no laughing matter!

The problem of beggary is not unique to Amritsar or elsewhere. In the most modern world cities like New York and London, one can see vodka-stained ruffians asking you to “spare some change”, coming up with stories to extract 25 cents from passers-by. Mahatma Gandhi never gave them money. Nor did Mother Teresa as they did not want to encourage debasement of human dignity. 

The menace has now become a part of organised crime and drug dealing. Local mafias are controlling the profession and children are the worst sufferers. Child beggars are thus most vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse, exploitation, allurement and trafficking. 

Amritsar has an additional attraction for this industry, which is evident from the large number of Biharis and Bangladeshi beggars thronging the city. Despite police action against beggars, their nuisance has increased manifold. Efforts for their rehabilitation have failed as they sold off and fled the places identified for the purpose by the administration.


Frequent derailments

I often read in The Tribune about deaths in train accidents but never get to know about the follow-up action taken by the authorities or punishment, if any, given to those responsible for the accidents. What a tragedy! Families get ruined, children orphaned, but accidents continue unabated.

The section between Jaunpur and Belwai has been damaged at least five times in three weeks. Shramajivi Express derailed so many times last year, but the railway administration did not take any step to check frequent derailments. Though Railway Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered repairs last year, this proved to be ineffective. Why are the Railway authorities not taking prompt action?

I would request the authorities to intensify checks on the track, especially the vulnerable ones, and get the faults, if any, repaired immediately.


Strange situation

Very often we hear about people coming to Chandigarh from far off places, get rooms booked in some hotel or rest house and commit heinous crimes like murder. As many as seven murders have been committed since April 2003 in Chandigarh but what is the track record of the police in nabbing the culprits? Just as the myth that whosoever dies in Kashi goes to heaven, in the present case, whosoever commits a crime in Chandigarh goes unpunished.


Clear the backlog

The Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justices of the High Courts have decided to give priority to disposal of cases of senior citizens. But what about others such as the disabled, widows, freedom fighters and ex-servicemen? There is a huge backlog of cases in all the courts and no action plan has been formulated on how best to tackle this gigantic problem.

A simple suggestion was made to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the courts should not defer the hearing of cases beyond one month in view of the faster means of communication and conveyance today. Surprisingly, however, there is no acknowledgement, leave alone its implementation. The courts should not defer the hearing of cases beyond one month in view of the faster means of communication available today. This is the only concrete solution in the larger interest of the litigants and the judiciary.

LT-COL P.S. SARANG (RETD), Chandigarh


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